The Leftovers season 3, episode 6 recap: ‘Certified’


Amy Brenneman shines as Laurie makes a devastating decision in The Leftovers: “Certified.”

Amy Brenneman’s Laurie Garvey (now Murphy) was always one of The Leftover‘s most enigmatic characters given her vow of silence as a member of the Guilty Remnant in the first season. But more recently she’s been much more vocal, providing a voice of reason as those around her prepare for the worst on the seventh anniversary of the Sudden Departure.

Laurie is a natural fit for the role given her prior life as a therapist, which we see glimpses of in Certified‘s cold open. The scenes give us insight into how she became a member of the GR after she was unable to counsel the woman seen losing her son way back in the show’s pilot two years after he departed.

We later learn during a heart to heart between Laurie and Kevin at the end of the episode that the Garveys were also directly impacted by the cataclysmic event, except only Laurie was privy to the fact that she was pregnant on October 14th, but saw her baby disappear before her very eyes while viewing a sonogram. All of this leads Laurie to attempt suicide, which is a running theme throughout the sixth episode of the final season, as evidenced by this week’s opening theme song, Gravediggaz’s “1-800 Suicide.”

Credit: HBO

We then flashback to Laurie’s adventures with Matt and Nora. She’s attacked by a dog while filming a couple in their home who appear to be the female physicists behind the machine that transports people to where the departed went. Nora is determined to find out where the machine is located after she was rejected by the women over her answer to a question.

Laurie watches the videos of people who have used the device, noting that it seems like an elegant way to commit suicide. But Nora pushes back, instead describing the perfect way to kill yourself while scuba-diving to shield your loved ones from the truth. “Clean, quiet certainty, fully explained,” she says. She contrasts it with how her brother is slowly killing himself by refusing treatment for cancer.

Laurie and Nora then squabble over her and John’s scamming of grieving individuals through palm readings. Nora wants one done to her, but Laurie maintains that they don’t do Departures. Things get more awkward when Laurie mentions Nora giving Lily back to her birth mother.

Eventually, they tussle over Laurie’s lighter, resulting in Nora accidentally giving her a black eye. The lighter was a gift from her daughter, Jill, which was engraved with the words, “Don’t Forget Me.” Their fight is interrupted by the doctors leaving their home.

While trailing their car, Nora informs Laurie that the French naval officer last seen in “It’s a Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt World” blew up a submarine because he had his own thoughts on what would happen on the Sudden Departure’s anniversary. Apparently, he believed that a sea monster would eat them like in the Book of Revelations. Laurie then receives a phone call from her stepson Michael, who urges her to travel to Grace’s ranch as soon as possible.

Back at the house, the group casually matches each other to an apostle over dinner. Kevin Sr. thinks Laurie is most like the skeptical Thomas, but she chimes in that’s she’s actually more of a Judas. In a bit of foreshadowing, this sparks Michael to question why Judas killed himself if he was so sure of everything.

Credit: HBO

Suddenly, Kevin Sr.’s face falls flat on his plate, as the rest of the group start to pass out except for Laurie and Grace, who retreated to her bedroom early. “I borrowed your pills,” Laurie tells the dog.

Back on her journey with Matt and Nora, the trio arrives on the shoreline where the machine is being unloaded. Before Laurie says goodbye, Nora recounts a story from her childhood during a baseball game that she and Matt attended after the death of their parents. The crowd was tossing around a beach ball until it was deflated by an employee to loud boos from the fans.

“Who would want that job?” Nora asks tearfully, reflecting on her own time investigating departures. She could easily turn the physicists into the DSD, but instead,

she’s going to make another attempt to join them. Laurie too has been in the role of deflating other’s beach ball, especially when it comes to the idea of her ex-husband being the second coming of Christ who’s going to save the world.

Matt decides to stay with Nora and hands Laurie the Book of Kevin to give to Kevin Sr. along with an apology for not putting him in it. They say goodbye to Laurie as Nora asks for secrecy. The former therapist asks for her cigarettes as a form of payment to establish a doctor and patient confidentiality agreement.

Credit: HBO

Back at Grace’s ranch, it’s Laurie’s time to talk to Kevin Jr. She reveals that she drugged everyone inside so they can speak more freely. They each confess several secrets from when they were married, including the fact that Laurie was pregnant at the time of the Sudden Departure, while Kevin confesses to hating their house and letting Jill’s hamster die.

Kevin then assures her that he’s ready to die again, and tells her that he’s not scared. Laurie implies that she’s okay with his decision, but maintains that she can’t stay. In a sign that she’s moved on, she casually gives him the lighter that she fought Nora for only a day earlier.

Before she leaves, Kevin asks Laurie if Nora is gone. “We’re all gone,” she replies.

Credit: HBO

The last scene shows Laurie on a small boat preparing to go diving as a storm approaches. Before she goes in, she receives a phone call from Jill who asks the title of a kid’s show she used to watch when she was little called, “Today’s Special,” revolving around a mannequin that came to life. Her son Tom can be heard laughing in the background, and they each tell her they love her before she hangs up the phone.

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“It’s now or never, miss,” says the captain. Laurie finishes suiting up and dives backward into the water, as only waves are heard over the closing credits.

While Laurie has presumably taken her own life, Kevin Jr. prepares to risk his life to save humanity as Nora delves into the unknown to be with those who have departed, and Matt slowly allows himself to die.

Only two episodes left before we learn the fate of the world of The Leftovers.

The Leftovers season 3 continues Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.